I can get my head around 'analytical' (just), but you've totally lost me with 'organic', 'earthy' and 'mechanical'.
As for Harbeths, the designer has always said (over and over again) to use any amplifier that is working properly and is operated within it's designed limits.
I'm pretty sure your Leema will be fine.
What I mean by "earthy" or "organic", think of vegetables. Organic veg should be grown naturally and therefore taste natural. There you have it "totally natural" sounding amp. Play disco types songs, acoustic stuff and it sounds great. However, its achilles heel is female vocals like Adele, Joss Stone or Simon & Garfunkel (remastered), Beatles (remastered) and it sounds a little cold.
Perhaps that's the compromise... don't really know, hence the question.
Without trying to be rude, and apologies if you think it is, why did you buy it if it sounds "cold"? Didn't you audition it?
Not rude at all - as I mentioned before all equipment below silly money is going to be compromised, and the speakers I heard improve a wonderful amp. Therefore just gauging opinion on how far one thinks an amp of the Leema quality can be taken (or how close to Class A or valve amp). The other reason for mentioning Harbeth or even Sonus Fabers...
You say 'how close to' as though there is a pecking order with valve and class a above your leema. Some might think so, but probably a minority. More realistically, they're just different. So a good, price comparable valve amp will sound different from your leema, but not inherently better. IMO this isn't about 'taking' the quality of your amp anywhere; it's a good amp but if you want a different sound try a different one, class a and valves included.
HiFi / A/V / Bedroom
This is why I'm asking - heard Class A amp about 2.5 years ago and valve amps a lot further back, plus these growing numbers of valve/Class A users is making me slightly paranoid.
Don't get me wrong I absolutely love the sound 'as is', but really looking to see if I can get closer to the ideal sound with speaker/source change.
Leema Pulse MKII-S; Naim CD5i MKII; Denon TU-260L MKII; MA RS6 speakers; Pro-ject Xpression 1; loads of different cables...
Formerly known as plastic penguin
I wonder if you might do best by upgrading the speakers? I'm one of those who thinks that speakers are the most important part of a system (as long as you have a decent source) and if you like MA speakers then maybe look at the RX8s?
Well, don't let what other people say make you paranoid. If you love the sound, don't change for the sake of change or because of what anyone else says. If, however, from your experience 2.5 years ago you heard something 'more ideal' then go do some more listening, you never seem to have much problem sourcing something to listen to. I have to say I'm surprised at your 'hankering' as you've always said how happy you are with your setup. And as I say, my understanding was that if you were looking to change anything it would be your speakers. As you are so enamoured with the Leema, I'd suggest that's where to look if you really do fancy a change.
I don't think you can make any amp sound like class A if it is not class A
The main difference in the class A sound comes from the complete elimination of crossover distortion which is a type of distortion that can make an amplifier sound grainy and harsh .
Class A operation completely eliminates this type of distortion but at the cost of low efficiency and considerable heat output combined with large size and weight .
Just because an amplifier is a class A design it does not automatically mean it will sound better than any other type of amp ie AB / B OR D , in my opinion the quality of design and the parts used are equally important to good sound quality but CNO may not agree with my last statement .
I pretty much agree with all of this. Class A has to be done right to sound good, and that isn't going to be cheap, especially for SS. There are SS amps that claim "A" status, that are in fact "hi-bias" amps. It so happens that (imo) most SS Class A sound better, but it is not a cast iron guarantee.....and may be because there aren't very many of them.
Tube amps are like everything else ie. good and bad.
I believe that nothing really sounds like a Valve amp, except a Valve amp. I also agree that nothing sounds like a SS Class A amp unless it is fully biassed away from the "B".
You can get a hint of it by careful choice of source and speakers, that minimize the digitalitus that can afflict systems......though some people are more sensitive to it than others.
Well designed CDPs or DACs that incorporate tubes can help. The Rega Dac is also one of the more "analogue" sounding out there.
Speakers can greatly help, with brands like Harbeth and SF (as you've pointed out) and some of the Spendor range. The Kef R series are always worth a listen as well.
"Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again." André Gide
Hi PP, Have you heard the Focal 816W SE? Btw,my AMS35i still gives me some goosebumps >)
Electrocompaniet EMC 1UP / Musical Fidelity AMS 35i / Focal Electra 1028be / MIT AVt MA speaker cable-Matrix 12 xlr / Chord powerchord / GIK acoustics
Glad you're enjoying it.......just wait till you get the the "right" source!
Oh, and class A solid-state amps consume a LOT of electricity. Just reading the specs of one particular 20wpc example that uses 192 watts even when 'resting'.
They also get hot, very hot, especially when powered on but doing nothing. So lots of ventilation.
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System matching, surely.
JRiver MC17 -> Cambridge Audio DACmagic+ -> Roksan Caspian M2 -> ProAc D18
Yes, but just trying to put a little "meat on the bones".
Though it has to be born in mind what a wise old bird has said on here - "Why drive something like a Golf...........".
RX8 are too big and all-consuming for my room - really want away from those dreaded hard domed tweeters that MA produce. That's not fair, they are wonderful speakers and had years of real pleasure but they do limit the choice of amp and source as I've found to my (emotional) cost.
Maybe worth pointing out, if it's not already been done, that you're at the mercy to some extent of the quality of the mastering of the recorded material and the production in general.
Two Class A amps worth considering would be XTZ's D100 A3 and the Jungson 88A the latter of which doesn't seem to run excessively hot.
Onkyo TX-NR818 / Tannoy Revolution DC4 / Marantz SA7001-KI
Nope, not getting rid of my Leema, interested in seeing how close one could get without the amp losing its essential qualities... what speakers and source.
I know you're not really a digital type of chap, but have you considered EQ? The article below is a bit dated, but is very informative. EQ can pretty much give you whatever type sound you desire, subject to speaker limitations, which I'm sure you wouldn't have.
Mac mini > AVI ADM9Ts
The only Class A amp I have ever liked came out of Milton Keynes in 1986. I suspect it's class A/B when set to Hi Gain.
I can't comment on a tube hi fi amp as I've never heard one, but there is a vast difference between transistor and tube guitar amps, in fact a huge sonic difference in valve class A and A/B, but then they are for a lot of the time designed to sound good when clipped, which a SS amp doesn't naturally.
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